North American League of Legends is in a lull right now, many of the professional teams having flown away to Korea to test out the solo queue waters there. It’s been over a week now since the Mid-Season Invitational finished up, where Counter Logic Gaming surprised the world with their second place finish. In a season full of the unexpected, here are the events I expect to happen, which you might never see coming.
1. Team Liquid doesn’t finish 4th
In fact, I see them moving into a top two spot. They were one of the most competitive teams last split while running with 3 rookies. Dardoch, Lourlo, and Matt have all proven their worth through a variety of different champions; they will be ready to adapt to a massive change in meta, should it occur. Locodoco’s well-planned and calculated coaching philosophy will become increasingly valuable as League of Legends matures into strategic saturation. The one question mark for me is Fenix. He is one of the weakest laning mid players in the NA LCS as well as the NACS. Don’t be surprised if he’s replaced halfway through the split.
2. Swain becomes top tier
I’ve seen picked or banned in almost every single Challenger level game I’ve played since the last patch. LCS solo laners are starting to realize the value of having a skillshot Q and an incredibly smooth (and inexpensive) core build path. His win-rate is approaching 60% on the North American server due to his ability to easily deal with bruisers and shut down short range carries.
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3. Team EnVyUs lose a 15 minute game
Despite the promise that Seraph and Ninja showed towards the latter end of last split, I cannot imagine the same level of success being replicated in the future. This roster is without a true carry, but also definitely lacks both good coaching and experienced shot-calling. Though their season may not be completely abysmal, I predict that they will get completely rolled in at least one of their first 10 games, not even making it to the surrender mark.
4. Immortals finishes bottom half
This team had a LMQ-esque entrance to the LCS, nearly sweeping through the entire regular season before dropping to Team SoloMid in the semifinals of the playoffs. Their 17-1 record nearly lived up to their namesake but moving into the summer split, I can’t see the same level of success coming through for the team.
As teams holistically begin to understand macro League of Legends better, the impact of junglers in the early game will be further mitigated. Reignover’s ability to consistently carry his team, and most importantly Huni, will take a backseat to Immortals’ overall strategy. Further, in my brief encounters in solo queue with the top laner, his basic execution and knowledge have probably been the most lackluster of any LCS top laner I’ve faced in the past 2 months. What appeared to be their greatest strength coming in may be the grounding factor for the Immortals come summer.